The Carolina Panthers still have a huge need at the wide receiver position, as veteran WR3 Jerricho Cotchery is the only signing they have made. Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant has had very limited interest on the free agent market, which isn’t surprise given how slow he is. That said, the New England Patriots did show some interest in him before making a bigger move by signing former Panthers WR Brandon LaFell, and the Kansas City Chiefs have shown a notable amount of interest. However, Andy Reid would only reunite with his former slot receiver after the draft, so that clears the way for other teams to sign him.
So far, the only other team with interest is the Panthers, as the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person reports that Avant will visit the team today. The only other team he visited this offseason was the Patriots, so the Panthers decision to take a closer look at him shows significant interest but does not mean they will sign him. Former Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud, who was also cut this offseason, is also in Charlotte for a visit today, and it will be interesting to see if they sign him after adding another underperforming NFC South veteran in Roman Harper this offseason.
I don’t really think Avant makes sense for the Panthers, because they already have a veteran wideout who plays the slot as a WR3 in Cotchery. Plus, Cotchery brings more to the table. Avant is one of the best locker room guys in the league, will only cost the veteran minimum, runs clean routes, and has amazing hands. However, he’s also one of the slowest wide receivers in the league and is a WR4 at this point in his career.
Still, the Panthers could use some veteran depth at the position with Avant behind Cotchery on the depth chart, and the 30-year-old would come dirt-cheap and could be cut at any time. There aren’t really any better options for the Panthers, as they’ll have to find a playmaker in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Panther seem to be high on Tavarres King and will want to take a closer look at Iowa product Marvin McNutt, but they could use some veteran depth to join those two unproven options.